6 Things I wish I knew before starting my blog
Before I launched my blog, I spent so long reading everything I could about the process. It was honestly borderline obsessive. At one point, I had a folder of about 100 bookmarked links all pretty much telling me the same information over and over again just in a different writing style. Nothing about this comes as a surprise to anyone I know because I’m pretty much always overcomplicating every scenario in my life.
Still, after all that planning there was a lot that I was unprepared for when I started and things I’m still figuring out one year later. I thought I’d share just a few things I wish I knew before I started publishing to my blog.
Keeping up with photos takes a lot more work than expected
One of the big things everyone recommends is to take decent photos for your posts. It’s for a good reason, so I understand why it’s talked about so much. It breaks up the content, making posts easier to read through. Plus, it’s just nice to look at. People prefer to have something visual because just a wall of text can be boring and tedious to get through. Photos also give you something shareable across social media to get the attention of people scrolling past. Yeah yeah yeah, we get it. They’re important.
But they’re so hard to keep up with. I had no idea that one of the things I was going to struggle the most with was taking pictures. Ever since middle school, I’ve loved photography, and while I didn’t keep up with it as one of my hobbies, it was one of the things I was most looking forward to. I just never anticipated how hard it is to keep up with taking new photos for multiple posts a week with similar themes.
It’s especially hard when you’re always home and have limited props and spaces with good lighting. Turns out, I’m not that creative when it comes with photography. Stock photos are an option, but I end up scrolling through for so long, becoming indecisive and just publishing without any photos.
It’s slow going
Everyone said that it takes a lot of time and patience to get anywhere with your posts, but I don’t think I really knew just how slow going it can be. I love writing about disability, but at times it can also be kind of limiting because the target audience can sometimes be pretty small. View counts can be hard to predict.
Posts that I thought would flop end up getting views 9 months later and some of my favorite have tanked. Even when I’ve promoted pretty heavily, sometimes it’s impossible to tell whether or not a post will get clicks. Honestly, though, no complaints from me, because I’m just happy anyone at all takes time out of their day to read my rambles. If you’re here, I love ya.
Not every post has to be so precious
I don’t publish anything that makes me uncomfortable or unhappy to share. That being said, there are some posts I like waaaay more than others. Every time I write, I give it my best effort. But my best effort looks different all the time. Sometimes I’m sick or sometimes I just don’t have as much time to put into it. Other times, I’m struggling to come up with topics or words that actually sound interesting.
But the good thing, actually one of my favorite things, is that because I’m putting out content so often, not every post has to be special. Staying consistent with a posting schedule has never been my strong suit, but I always try hard to get between 1-2 published every single week. If one isn’t that great, there will be another one up in just a few days. People spend just a couple minutes reading through it anyway, so no one is analyzing it as carefully as I am.
You don’t need to be so strict on limiting what you can/can’t post
One of the suggestions I read constantly was to pick a topic and a niche and stick with it. To a point, this is true, because if your content is always random and unpredictable it can be pretty hard to find people who will want to continually read your posts. On the other hand, not every single post needs to be perfectly in line with your theme. That’s something I tried to do for a long time and I got bored pretty fast.
I usually say now that mine is a ‘disability lifestyle’ blog, and that’s literally only because I knew that I wasn’t going to be happy only writing about disability. Sometimes I want to write about what I’ve been up to, or Disney, or something random that I find interesting. I think it’s fine to branch out and just post what makes you happy.
Promoting is harder than it sounds
Does anyone else find it horribly cringe inducing to promote their own content? No? Just me? Alrighty then.
Everyone else seems to do so well scheduling tweets and posting really fun updates to their Instagram stories, but every single I time I do I’m wildly embarrassed. I always love my posts right up until I hit publish and then I turn into a nervous puddle. If someone finds it on their own? Cool. I just absolutely hate trying to promote it. It feels so shameless and sales pitchy, even though I always just send out a casual update saying there’s a new post. Nothing about this makes sense because I clearly want people to read them, but here we are.
Finding brands/companies to work with is exhausting
Monetizing my blog was never my main motivation for starting it, but it was definitely something I had in mind from the beginning. I figured it wouldn’t be easy, but I underestimated just how hard it can be.
You make basically nothing from ads unless you get bangin’ view counts, and affiliate links have been unsuccessful so far. So that led to me looking for different brands and companies to work for. I’ve worked with one in total, and that’s it.
The process is probably my least favorite aspect of all this, and I’ve pretty much stopped seeking it out aside from a few select opportunities that seem really interesting or special. It’s difficult because a lot of brands aren’t willing to pay for content. That or they have demands that my tiny lil page can’t fulfill, whether that be view counts, DA, or followers on social media. Plus, a lot don’t even respond to your emails. It’s a really great way to knock yourself down a few pegs.
I feel like I’ve got a good process down now, but I’m still learning a lot a year into it.
You can read all the advice and ideas you want but at some point, you just have to take a leap of faith and get started. The experience is going to be different for everyone, at least in some ways, and you kind of just have to learn as you go.